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Posts Tagged GEO – US Funding

A disaster in waiting by Zahid Hussain, DAWN

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A disaster in waiting

Updated Apr 30, 2014 06:13am

IT seems like déjà vu. The empire has struck back, orchestrating a media campaign and public rallies in its support. With familiar Islamist faces carrying larger-than-life portraits of the army and ISI chiefs, the spectacle is ominous. Such a public display of support for the head of the spy agency is rare, if not unprecedented.

Less than seven years after the return of the democratic order, the military is back in the arena, upping its public political profile. It is a return to the old cloak and dagger game between the civil and military authorities. There may not be a winner in this bitter power struggle, but the collision has heightened political uncertainty in the country.

The initial silence of the government over the relentless slander campaign against the ISI and its chief has for sure triggered the military’s backlash. But the tension between the PML-N government and the generals has been building up for quite some time.

In fact, it was a story foretold when Nawaz Sharif returned to the helm for the third time last year. It is partly the case of past baggage that refuses to go away, keeping alive the distrust of each other. But there are some other key policy differences that have escalated the tensions.

For several days the government watched from the fringes as the ISI bashing on Geo triggered a media civil war that sharply polarised the country’s political landscape. The damage control came a bit too late. It also fuelled widespread perception that the government had deliberately allowed the situation to flare up.

The statements by some ministers lent further credence to the allegation that the government was a party to the conflict. The military too lost all rationality by feeding its own narrative into the media war, branding its critics anti-state. It also went too far in publicly calling for the closure of Geo and reportedly stopping its broadcast in cantonment areas. The proxy war through the media created a very messy situation.

Things seem to have cooled down a bit, but the events of the last two weeks have changed the country’s political atmosphere. All sides seem to have been badly bruised in the ugly fracas. Of course the war of channels has exposed the charade of the free media. But neither the government nor the country’s powerful military establishment has come out unscathed in this free-for-all.

In fact, the government seems to have badly miscalculated its prowess. The attempt to manipulate the situation and to bring the military under pressure appears to have boomeranged, making the government perhaps the biggest loser in the whole episode. The crisis has led to a realignment of political forces.

It is not just the old jihadi ‘assets’ like Jamaatud Dawa that have come out to defend their old patrons, but many mainstream political parties have also jumped on to the pro-military bandwagon. In an unprecedented move the Sindh Assembly passed a unanimous resolution expressing solidarity with the security agencies. Not surprisingly, the government now finds itself in a tight corner and is forced to stand behind the military, at least on the Geo issue.

Yet, it seems extremely difficult for the two sides to mend fences with the widening gap between them on some key policy issues. The treason trial of retired Gen Musharraf and the government’s soft peddling on militancy remain the main sources of tension. What is most worrisome for the military leadership is mounting discontent within the ranks, particularly among the junior officers.

It was this pressure that forced the new army leadership to provide protection to the former army chief and avoid his appearances before the special tribunal for several months. Musharraf finally appeared after a reported deal that he would be allowed to leave the country after the indictment. But that did not happen. Mr Sharif would not let his tormentor out.

But the most sensitive issue souring relations is the government’s ambivalence over the military’s war against militancy. The statements by senior ministers apparently sympathetic to the Taliban enrage the young officers in the battlefield. There is growing anger, not just because of the government’s reluctance to own the war, but due to its failure to attend the funerals of soldiers and officers killed in battle.

GHQ is reportedly inundated with letters from officers on the front line expressing outrage over the government’s apathetic attitude. Many more soldiers and officers are killed in the battlefield as the Sharif government is engaged in so-called peace dialogue.

It is not that the military and the ISI have not been castigated for their policies and high-handedness before. But the kind of slander campaign run by a section of the media has diverted attention away from genuine criticism on the working of the security and intelligence agencies. Being in a war makes the officers more sensitive to critical remarks about their institution.

Indeed, civil and military relations are not easy to manage in Pakistan given its chequered political history. But democracy cannot work without the two being on the same page on critical national issues. The responsibility lies with both the institutions. Only better governance and greater ability for policy direction on part of the elected government and not a confrontationist approach could establish civilian supremacy.

But the twice-ousted prime minister seems to have learnt no lesson from his own experience. It is a disaster in waiting.

The writer is an author and journalist.

zhussain100@yahoo.com

Twitter:@hidhussain

PAKISTANI COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE

——— Forwarded message —
Date: Sat, May 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM
Subject: Re: A Disaster in Waiting by Zahid Hussain, Dawn

Nawaz Sharif  is not concerned of what happens to the soldiers fighting on all fronts. He, his family and their cronies are merrily riding along stealing with both hands and making fools of the Pakistani people.

I don’t blame the Sharifs and their types in this country. It’s we, or us, who are the idiots and suckers. We like real “Chu**as” voted for such nincompoops.

The shocking part is, I come across people who actually have lots of praises for the Sharifs. It boggles the mind. How can one sing laurals of scum ? Forget about their posts, just their dirty, filthy, corrupt bloodline, is sufficient to loathe them. One can’t even think of being social with them.

Well,the generals need to “smell the coffee !” For them, the discipline and morale of the troops and the young officers is more important than the incompetence and vacillating of a corrupt, third rate government. Time is near for a JK-Leghari type action.

Sheikh Rashid has tweeted that NS is doing this on purpose. He wants to go down as a “political martyr.”
——————————————————————————————————

On May 3, 2014 1:10 AM, — wrote:
>
> A well-reasoned article.

> Nawaz Sharif has  ample girth, but a small mind to balance it. His only real achievement since coming to power for the third time is to have gratuitously antagonized the military, which was quite committed to have nothing to do with the “democratic” order.

> At least this was my take from the generals I met.
> However this was not the feeling I got from the lower ranks, those who are actually fighting and dying. They seemed to be quite livid at the treatment generally being meted out to “the army” by most of the electronic media. And they could not quite fathom what was keeping the generals quiet.

> It is now quite apparent that the generals are finally on the same page with the men they have sent out to battle.
> Most of our analysts feel that it is a power hungry general who brings about a coup. But if they were to study all the coups, and really dissect their causes, they will find that all coups start with resentments among junior ranks of the army in lock-step with those of the general rank and file of the average Pakistani on the street. It is only when the broth is about to boil over, do the generals step in to pick the fruit. The best example of this phenomenon, only because it is the best recorded, is the Zia coup. This is therefore worth studying.  But for the revolt of the three brigadiers who refused to open fire on agitating civilians in Lahore, which was reflective of the feelings of  their junior officers, Zia would never have picked up the nerve to have pulled off the coup.

> Nawaz Sharif just could not gather the grace to subdue his thirst for revenge against the army, and thus he has revived a monster. And the deeper this war against the terrorist goes, the greater will become the strength of this beast. Those who are bleeding and dying will not bow down to those who are thieving and hoarding away. One does not have to be a genius to figure this one out.

> For Nawaz it will only be a losing battle from now on, unhampered as he is by good sense, while at the same time burdened by a king-sized ego which he must keep well fed at all times.

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Comments by JA

I agree with Zahid,s analysis and the conclusion except to point out that both sides have not been losers in this confrontation. In fact the Army has regained lot of lost ground in the shape of support and sympathy from the public. If the Govt instead of sitting on the sidelines and seeing the ISI bashing from the side lines had taken the initiative to defuse the situation by asking GEO to immediately stop the vilification campaign, there would have been no need for the ISPR to do it themselves. The Army has been restive at the attitude and utterances of some prominent ministers who seem oblivious to the loss of lives by the Army in Defence of our motherland. The calculated silence by the Prime Minister is not gaining him any friends and supporters in the Forces or even the public. Gen Raheel has been very correct in giving due respect to the civilian authority but the pressure from within on various issues which he has to handle must be appreciated by those at the helm of our Govt today. It may not be very far when the Army would be asked to fight against the terrorists in a major operation for which a healthy relationship between them is required. A sulking Army cannot give it’s best.   —  JA

On May 2, 2014, at 6:37 PM, Shaheryar Azhar <> wrote:

 

Concurrently posted by forum members Ehsan Ahrari and Shahid Husain.

Excerpt: “Things seem to have cooled down a bit, but the events of the last two weeks have changed the country’s political atmosphere. All sides seem to have been badly bruised in the ugly fracas. Of course the war of channels has exposed the charade of the free media. But neither the government nor the country’s powerful military establishment has come out unscathed in this free-for-all……But the most sensitive issue souring relations is the government’s ambivalence over the military’s war against militancy. The statements by senior ministers apparently sympathetic to the Taliban enrage the young officers in the battlefield. There is growing anger, not just because of the government’s reluctance to own the war, but due to its failure to attend the funerals of soldiers and officers killed in battle……Indeed, civil and military relations are not easy to manage in Pakistan given its chequered political history.

 

But democracy cannot work without the two being on the same page on critical national issues. The responsibility lies with both the institutions. Only better governance and greater ability for policy direction on part of the elected government and not a confrontationist approach could establish civilian supremacy. But the twice-ousted prime minister seems to have learnt no lesson from his own experience. It is a disaster in waiting.”

 


http://epaper.dawn.com/DetailNews.php?StoryText=30_04_2014_009_005

Even though this article depicts a gloomy picture of civil-military relations, it appears that the modalities of ups and downs of those ties have remained very much hidden to the outside world.  The fact that the civilian government wants to have a dialogue with the TTP, the Army seems to have maintained a calculated silence.  One always wonders how that silence is being interpreted by the TTP, which, everyone knows, does not want to resolve its (highly irresolvable conflict) with the government.

As his country faces a lot of turbulence, it is befuddling why General Raheel is making so many trips to Saudi Arabia.  I am sure he is not going there purely to perform more umra’s.

Bottom line: Even though I remain least impressed by Nawaz Sharif’s
performance, I see no reason for alarm over the current mysterious nature of civil-military relations in Pakistan.

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Capital Talk and Zaid Hamid: GEOs Stealth Policy of Pakistan ISI & Armed Forces Bashing

 Dear Pakistanis at home and abroad, please send a copy of this article to Indophile Jang Group and Hamid Mir, the Voice of India in Pakistan at the e-mail addresses given below.

 FROM: N.Malik, address removed

To: hamid.mir@geo.tv;

saleem.safi@janggroup.com.pk
 

Bashing Zaid Hamid by GEO & Hamid Mir Or Shooting the Messenger

 Yesterday in the Capital talk it was most unusual that  you discussed a person Mr Zaid Hamid instead of discussing a subject
 or a topic afflicting our nation now days. I wish I could type in
 Urdu to be able to express myself in a better way especially when I
 Know that English is not one of your strong points. However that
 you reacted to Mr Zaids previous talk shows reflects that there is
 something that really worries you and your owners – now well known to
 be the Indians.
 You are always lambasting Army and the ISI – never the RAW or India.
 Ur TV channel was the first one to discover the ghost story of Ajmal
 Kasab and Farid kot. It was but the lonely Zaid who had pointed
 out the loopholes of the claimed indian story and confirmed that Kasab
 was a Hindu. U are a Punjabi Kashmiri. In your Mohalla are the
 butchers called with the alias of “Kasai” or “Kasab”? Further the
 manner the operation was carried out was the most idiotic which no
 commando would ever so do and is never done the manner it was claimed.
 The initial report of finding two rubber boats in the channel ( and
 which was quickly back tracked) was a small part of a forty five years
 old plan, now wasted out, which must have been with the Indians
 intelligence and in a haste that was thrown in.
 I was ever more surprised to hear Saleem Safi who I always considered
 to be a balanced reporter and anaylist, he was also apparently blown
 in with the winds.
 Now read below and look into yourself who are you? Are u serving the
 interests of ur Mother land or her enemies. You should thank Allah who
 made you some one important from a small time reporter later propped
 up by Mark Telly.
 
 
 “The proverbial cat is out of the bag and Pakistan’s populist Supreme Court
 has announced its decision on the *Report of Media Commission*. As
 expected, the court in its ruling made public on its website has chosen not
 to touch the sensitive parts of the report. The most sensitive is *dubious
 interest of foreigners in Pakistan’s electronic media*.****
 
 There are two most sensitive issues mentioned in the report:****
 
 
 – Media watchdog, PEMRA informed the commission a couple of media houses
 are reported to have received large grants in the form of advertising
 contracts from overseas sources. It is said that one such grant is *20
 million British pounds.* Any attempt by PEMRA to probe such matters
 immediately leads to claims that there is an attempt to curb freedom of the
 media and there is always the recourse to obtaining a stay order if an
 inquiry is held. Most of the funds are channeled through the cover of
 a *Norwegian
 nongovernmental organization* named *“Friends without Borders”* but it was
 found the footprints of this funding lead to *Indian sponsors* including
 the Indian state television, the *Doordarshan* .
 
 

Who is Keith Rupert Murdoch
? 

< http://www.allvoice s.com/people/ rupert_murdoch and
 why the Indians send their money to one Pakistani channel? If the influence
 of Murdoch and Indians was not checked in Pakistan, then PEMRA was in
 breach of trust and an accomplice in the crime of allowing foreigners
 making inroads into Pakistani airwaves through their money.****
 
 Keith Rupert Murdoch is an Australian American media mogul. In July 2011,
 he faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the
 World<https://en.wikipedi a.org/wiki/ News_of_the_ World,
 owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of
 celebrities, royalty and public citizens. He faces police and government
 investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government
 and FBI<https://en.wikipedi a.org/wiki/ Federal_Bureau_ of_Investigation
 investigations  in the US. On July 21, 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News
 International. ****
 
 The allegation of PEMRA that one channel (GeoTV) received huge amounts in
 the name of sponsorship is most disturbing. That the amounts were actually
 sent by Indians should have rung alarm bells in the courtroom and media
 watchdog taken to task but the Supreme Court did not utter a single word in
 its order. The Supreme Court could do was to order an investigation. But
 this very serious breach of trust on the part of PEMRA escaped the
 attention of the court which strengthens the perception that the said
 channel is enjoying strong influence in the courtroom.** **
 
 What are the services that Geo is delivering for India? Numerous.

4Like ·  · Share

 

Indian Content and ISI Bashing

From
 showing excessive Indian contents to bashing Pakistan’s ISI and armed
 forces for anything happening anywhere in the world. This was the first
 channel which blamed in unison with Indian media that Mumbai Attacks in
 November 2008 were perpetrated by ISI. Not only that, it helped Indian
 establishment’ s line that Pakistanis were involved in the attacks when it
 prepared a package and informed the world that Ajmal Kassab belonged to a
 Pakistani town Faridkot. Now when this line of propaganda has been
 questioned in India with Indian security officials blaming their own
 government, the cover of this channel has been blown off.

Indian Propaganda and Pakistan Armed Forces Bashing by GEO


 Why this channel bashes ISI and armed forces? Because ISI and armed forces
 must be weakened at the point in time when they are fighting India’s
 proxies in FATA, Balochistan and even in Karachi. This is something enemy
 does to pressurize the security establishment of the rivals and break their
 resolve to fight. The Pakistani channel is doing exactly the same and
 earning millions of dollars of Indian money it has received. The security
 establishment should realize that even this channel is an Indian proxy and
 needs to be fought. The Supreme Court owes its popularity to this channel
 and may not take any action or utter any word to displease it.

 

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